Release date: May 5, 2002

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

With the sticker “featuring STEFAN ELMGREN lead guitarist of Hammerfall”, Spitfire sure knows how to push a solo album. A solid dose of power metal, delivered perhaps too much in the vein of Hammerfall, I sit back and wonder what Stefan is out to prove. Are these ideas that he can’t use with Hammerfall, or are they all songs not fitting their bag? “End Of Time” could might as well have been a HF song, while the next, “Enlighten Me?”, is not quite in the same way, but for sure a great song. “Enlighten Me?” remind a bit of the hairy Hard Rock songs with a big chorus full of attitude. The song works very well, though you can’t really accuse Stefan of being very hairy… Then there’s the title track, again a typical Hammerfall song, and listening to that track I realize that Hammerfall must have a good selection of songs for the upcoming album, if they are willing to scrap material like this. But again, maybe Stefan isn’t let loose on the creative side in the band, that without a doubt is lead by Oscar Dronjak and Joacim Cans.

The power ballad “Silent Screams” is okay, and the opening riff in “Master Of My Soul” is typical Hammerfall, still after a while I get a little less interested, for some reason. First of all, the singer, Niclas Jonsson, has a clean and overall good voice, but is one of those very one-dimensioned vocalists that sound like any other Swedish singer. Also, his Swedish accent could be worked on a little more. Yeah, all of us Scandinavians have accents when speaking English, even when writing for that sake, but that’s something you should be aware of and work on in the studio.

Song-wise, the CD starts very good, but it doesn’t last all the way. (If it did, we would have talked of a speed/power metal masterpiece actually, as the first songs are that good). But all over the record, Stefan delivers great and highly respectable guitar work, leaving you wonder why Hammerfall don’t take more advantage of his talents and make more guitar driven music with more nice fills here and there. Also, Stefan knows how to keep a sense of melody to his playing, check out the instrumental title track, which has a neat melody over a cool riff, making it more interesting than other instrumental shredders who can’t play with feel and melody to save their lives.

Any Hammerfall fan will be fine with this CD, and it kills the wait for their next release. But I also have to say that with Full Strike, though it’s not a FULL strike, Stefan stands on his own feet and sure has something to build on.


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